Families reluctant to speak up about suicide

Relatives are wary of seeking help for loved ones with suicidal thoughts or tendencies, says doctor.

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The families of loved ones with suicidal thoughts or tendencies can be as resistant as the sufferer to seek help.

Dr Yousef Abou Allaban, a medical director and consultant psychiatrist at the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology, recalled the case of a 15-year-old patient who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The boy was involved in a car crash in which one of his friends died and the other was injured.

“He always threatened to commit suicide, and I insisted that he be admitted into a hospital,” Dr Abou Allaban said. The boy’s family resisted the idea and wanted to keep the matter private.

“The family was very angry and was not happy with the treatment the boy received,” Dr Abou Allaban said. “The hospital did not have a dedicated [juvenile] centre, so he was among older patients who were acutely psychotic or with bipolar disorder.”

Despite the initial opposition by the boy’s family, the decision to put him in hospital saved his life, Dr Abou Allaban said. The boy did not face criminal charges.